NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The tough economy is putting the ax to an annual act of collective self-preservation in Louisiana: A state program to bundle used Christmas trees and place them in the marsh to help stop the state's crumbling coast from disappearing.
Since 1991, the state has collected more than 1.5 million Christmas trees from curbs and drop-off sites and built fences meant to trap sediment, stop erosion and even build land.
But under pressure to streamline budgets in these tough times, the state has decided to cut the $175,000 program this year.
Supporters of the program say recycling Christmas trees is a way to get people engaged in the state's dire land loss. Since the 1930s, the state has lost about 2,100 square miles of coast, an area bigger than Delaware.